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Spring Cleaning: From the Inside Out
The temperature is warming up and the flowers are blooming, which only means
one thing - spring is in the air! With spring, comes spring cleaning. Not just
cleaning up your home, but also cleaning up your eating habits and overall
lifestyle. After a long, cold winter and the comfort foods that came along with
it, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to SPRING CLEAN my lifestyle.
First thing’s first. Since the theme is spring cleaning, clean out that pantry! Get rid of those leftover Valentine’s Day candies. Throw out the chips, cookies, sugary cereals and salty snacks. Replace that space with healthy, nutrient dense foods like natural peanut butter, whole grain cereal, air popped popcorn, raw mixed nuts, and dried fruit!
Buy Local! Head to your nearest Farmers markets to pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables! Not only will you be supporting your local farmers, you’ll also catch some rays and more importantly the Vitamin D you’ve been lacking all winter long. Trade in those winter root vegetables and incorporate some colorful spring fruits and vegetables into your recipes. Roast, grill, or lightly sauté your vegetables with some olive oil and reap the benefits of buying seasonal produce!
These are some seasonal vegetables I like to incorporate into my meals:
- Artichokes. Don’t let this delicious vegetable intimidate you! Steam these with a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes).
- Asparagus. Simple and easy. Toss them with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper as a delicious side dish to any entrée.
- Baby beets. Beets aren’t just a winter vegetable! Chop them up and toss with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Pair with a spinach salad, pistachios, and sprinkle with goat cheese. Not only will they provide some color on your plate, but also some fiber!
- Berries. Pair them with plain low fat Greek yogurt for a high protein, high fiber snack with an antioxidant punch.
- Fresh herbs. Take parsley or basil, add garlic, pine nuts or walnuts, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste for a light pesto! Add it to a sandwich for a healthy alternative to mayo. Mix it with whole wheat pasta or add it to fish or chicken.
- Wild mushrooms. Slice and sauté, then add them to an omelet with a few slices of whole grain toast for a balanced breakfast.
- Baby greens. Try arugula or spinach. Great as an addition to any main dish, whether sautéed or used raw in a salad with some olive oil and vinegar.
Get moving! Now that the temperature is rising, there’s no excuse to stay inside. Incorporate the outdoors into your exercise routine. Run, bike, rollerblade, or walk. Grab some friends and find a local race to sign up for, it’s more fun when you train with others, especially when it’s for a good cause! I plan on participating in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour De Cure in June, as well as the Color Run with a few of my friends in the fall. Check it out!
And don’t forget to hydrate! Toss the juice, soda, and sugary drinks and drink more water! Add lemon, lime, your favorite fruit, or mint to your water or seltzer for a refreshing beverage.
Tell us what you’re doing to spring clean your lifestyle in the comments below, and happy spring cleaning!